Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Wedding - My Favorite Images

We weren't disappointed were we?

a beautiful bride

an exquisite wedding gown

jewelry in the utmost good taste

an adorable wedding party

a respect for tradition

a ceremony seeped in history

and a happy couple

The Royal Wedding was an 11 out of 10 wasn't it?

If you're not already burned out on the Royal Wedding coverage
for excellent sartorial reporting on the wedding party and the royal guests.
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Watching The Royal Wedding BHB Style

Well, we've all been waiting for the Royal Event
and it is finally about to begin....the wedding heard around the world

Christina Lindsey will be watching with Giles Deacon and tweeting it for LOVE magazine
The Aussi babes FF and SSG will be celebrating it properly with tea and scones
Dash will be tuning in from her Paradise in the Pyrenees
And of course The Preppy Princess has been all over this wedding since the engagement announcement and I can't wait to read her review of the whole extravaganza.

I don't know about you but I'm pretty sure that my invitation must have gotten lost in the mail
So I will be at home watching the wedding in my very best Edwardian diamond tiara.
Here it is.
It suits me don't you think?

Here is the close up of the tiara, isn't it magnificent.
We call it the Madonna tiara because she wore it for her wedding with Sean Penn.
You can't tell from this photo but the swag of diamonds can be removed and worn as a necklace so this tiara isn't just pretty....it's downright practical!
So if you just happen to be in the market for a gorgeous tiara...well you know who to contact.

Enjoy the wedding everyone
and congratulations to the royal couple.
May they have a long and loving marriage.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Moving On Now

OK...moving on now...is mercury finally out of retrograde?

Look what came in the mail this week
and it couldn't have come at a better time

With all the news about the Royal Wedding we are seeing a trend towards sapphires.  Certainly the royal engagement ring was classic, beautiful and fashionably safe.
But being a little irreverent myself, sometimes I like to see the traditional turned on edge like with this vintage sapphire and diamond cocktail ring which is one of my favorites.  I like the bold Modernist design.


I don't know about you but I'm looking forward to the royal wedding although I won't be staying up all night to watch it.  Thank god for Tivo!
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Anthem - Rolling In The Deep



La Belette Rouge recently posted about our need for having personal anthems at different points in our lives.  We've all had them haven't we?

Well, after certain events last weekend that resembled a French farce
this is my current life anthem.

Luckily, the timing for these events couldn't have been better as Easter, at least for me, signifies Spring and a time for new beginnings and paying more attention to the things that add value to my life.
Bon, on y va.
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Jewelry News - Another Reason For Gardening

Imagine that you are digging around in your back yard
maybe to plant a tree or two
and look what you come across buried in the dirt

Yes, that would be a cache of antique jewelry

Austrian authorities reveal find of buried treasure


VIENNA – A man turning dirt in his back yard stumbled onto buried treasure — hundreds of pieces of centuries-old jewelry and other precious objects that Austrian authorities described Friday as a fairy-tale find.

Austria's department in charge of national antiquities said the trove consists of more than 200 rings, brooches, ornate belt buckles, gold-plated silver plates and other pieces or fragments, many encrusted with pearls, fossilized coral and other ornaments. It says the objects are about 650 years old and are being evaluated for their provenance and worth.

So it makes me wonder, what was going on in Vienna in the early 14th Century that caused someone to hide their wealth. Could these pieces have been from the 13th Century when Vienna was under threat from the Mongolian Empire?   Or was the cache hidden later in the 16th  Century when the city was under siege by the Ottoman Turks.  What can I say, I'm nosy and I need to know these things. 
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Royal Wedding That I'd Like to See



Thanks to my friend Xilary who sent me this link
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Timing Is Everything

Now you know why unicorns are extinct

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is Mercury In Retrograde The New Black?

When is seems that the SHTF
all at the same time, I start to wonder.
What's going on?
From tsunamis to tornadoes
from friends having heart attacks to siblings lives abruptly changing (and not for the better)
from all things tech going awry at what seems to be the same time
Is it because Mercury is retrograde?
I have no idea but I'm looking for a woo-woo excuse to explain it all.

Apparently all this astrological obstruction is supposed to last until mid May.
Yikes!

My mood is rather black today, as are my clothes.
Luckily, I've got my happy panda pendant to give me a cheerier look!

Yes, I know, you can't see anything from this photo
So here's the close up, happy isn't it?

OK, so maybe a big panda pendant is too juvenile for me
So how about this flower pendant?
Yes this is more my style

I don't know, maybe today I should just stick with wearing this


Maybe I should fight the universe and wear only pastels from now until mid May.
To hell with the retrograded Mercury!
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Golden Years

Got Gold?
I hope that you do as it reached $1500 today.


and here's the 5 year chart


Meanwhile here's the 5 year chart for the Dow Jones Index


You know...I just thought that I would mention it.
And just for your viewing pleasure...
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Bijan - The End Of An Era On Rodeo Drive


I heard last Friday that Rodeo Drive retailer extraordinaire, Bijan Pakzad, had died. 
Bijan, who I always considered as the Persian Ralph Lauren, had an amazing way of marketing his image as well as his products. 
Is there another retailer who used his only image more in advertising.  I don't think so.
He also had an amazing ability to bring out the icons to sell his stuff.

A couple of weeks ago I saw the Bijan Bugatti Veyron parked in front of his store.
Personally, I thought it was a screaming nouveau riche a bit much.
But I give Bijan credit.  He certainly was a master of branding himself and selling a fantasy lifestyle.
But now I wonder, can the eponymous brand be continued in the way that Dior, Balenciaga and Lanvin have endured.
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Around Town - Shakespeare on a Saturday Night

For years Los Angeles battled a bad reputation as a cultural wasteland. 
Certainly no one can say that today with 3 world class museums (Getty, LACMA and MOCA)
a handful of smaller art institutions (Hammer, Weisman, SMMOA, Huntington)
and the Music Center with its multiple stages for the LA Philharmonic, the LA Opera, and multiple dance companies and theater productions.
Yet no one can argue about the problem with traffic in this city, making any drive to downtown or Mid-Wilshire to see an event at Disney Hall or LACMA a unpleasant experience.
So, what could make me happier than to discover a world class cultural venue right down the street from chez BHB, The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

The architecture of the intimate 500 seat main stage is amazing. Literally, there's not a bad seat in the house.
Inspired by Italian “horseshoe” theaters, yet conceived in an absolutely contemporary vernacular, The Broad Stage is an artist’s dream and an audience’s delight. Unlike any performance space in the country, it is sublimely intimate with 499-seats and strikingly grand at the same time – allowing eye contact with artists from the boxes to the back row –forging a new kind of artist and audience experience in Los Angeles. Theater, dance, film, operas, musicals, symphony and chamber orchestras will be presented on one of the city’s largest proscenium stages.
And the programs are diverse from opera recitals to modern jazz, from Shakespeare to world music, from Baryshnikov to Savion Glover (tap dancing), yes there is something for everyone.

Last night at the Broad I saw a contemporary Wall Street style staging of The Merchant of Venice starring F. Murray Abraham as Shylock. Academy Award winner Abraham was excellent, as was Kate MacCluggage who played Portia.  The rest of the cast was good, but none of them were Kenneth Branagh, if you know what I mean.  Still it was definitely worth seeing.  Here's the review from the LA Times.

Past performances have included the classic with Musica Angelica: A Grand Handel Gala and The Glory of the Hapsburgs: Imperial Music of the Vienna Court and the contemporary Sam Harris with the Section Quartet and Cambodian Rock Dengue Fever.
Like I said, something for everyone.

So if you are looking for something to do in Santa Monica, besides sauntering down the 3rd Street Promenade or shopping at Santa Monica Place, I suggest that you check out the upcoming performances at Broad Stage.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekend Reading - A Little This...A Little That...

Cleo de Merode

Ah, the weekend is here, finally so take your laptop or your ipad outside to a comfortable chair in the garden and catch up with all of the blog posts that you missed last week.
These are the posts that I recommend

What Is One To Do When One Is the Recipient of Family Silver?  at Reggie Darling

Cleo de Merode at French Sampler

Enamoured of Enamel at Passage des Perles

Only Connect at Caio Domenica

Louche Life and a bit of Erotic Vagrancy at Stella's Roar

The Tortoise and The Barbour at Maxminimus

and just basically everything at Savoir Faire



What will you be reading this weekend?
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

How To Wear Estate Jewelry - Revving Up The Retro

Oh, what a week. 
Obviously I've been grumbling on a daily basis about all of the busy work that goes into getting my taxes completed...so I decided to take a break from the all the wasteful spending by the government things that annoy me about the modern world and concentrate on the loveliness of past at the LA Antiques Show.

It seemed to be a much smaller show this year than the shows that I've gone to in the past...a sign of the times non?There were some very attractive antiques, books and Mid-Century abstract paintings that struck my eye.  But I'm afraid that I wasn't exactly overwhelmed with the estate jewelry. 

This week what I am loving are these pieces from the Retro Period. 


During WW2 both fine and fashion (costume) jewelers showed their support for the war effort by designing patriotic jewelry.  They created brooches with specific war related motifs such as army jeeps, American flags, military insignias and medals.  Many of their designs also stayed within the patriotic genre by using red, white and blue gemstones like the rubies, diamonds and sapphires in this VCA brooch.
My photos don't do justice to how beautiful the stones are in this piece...but here's what the VCA brooch looks like being worn

Isn't it charming?
Another great vintage estate jewelry piece from the late Retro Period that I have been wearing this week is this Cartier sapphire brooch which comes with matching earrings.

These pre sputnik style designs were highly popular in the late Retro to the early Mid-Century period.
Here is the Cartier set being worn. 
Yes I know that jewelry buyers today are looking for contemporary pieces such as VCA Alhambra necklaces and Cartier love bangles. While they are certainly chic, they just don't evoke any curiosity.

For me there's something wonderful about wearing jewelry that has a history.  It always makes me wonder who owned this piece?  How was it acquired?  Was it a special gift? What outfit was it worn with?  Did the wearer have a father, husband, lover or son fighting overseas?
So many questions and so few answers.  Provenance is rarely available.
Such is the nature of antiques and estate jewelry.

OK, so back to my grumbling.
I highly recommend that you read this article from Bloomberg
It's always good to know what your hard earned tax dollars fund!
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jewelry Biz - Change Happens at Christie's

An essential part of keeping up with the estate jewelry business is monitoring the auction results at Christie's, Sotheby's, Bonham's, etc.  and after watching the big fancy colored diamonds going for bigger and bigger numbers, we were a little surprised  to see that the big pink failed to sell at the latest Christie's Magnificent Jewels auction yesterday in New York. In fact the results from the entire auction were a little weak.

A Fancy Vivid Purple-Pink Cushion-Cut Diamond 10.09 carats

Estimate: US$12-15 million

From Reuters
Pink Diamond Fails To Sell
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – A more than 10 carat purplish-pink diamond expected to fetch up to $15 million failed to sell at Christie's Magnificent Jewels auction on Tuesday which took in a total of $31.8 million.
"We were disappointed that the 10-carat purple-pink diamond did not find a buyer, (but) top-quality white, blue, pink and yellow diamonds fared very well," said Christie's head of jewelry in New York, Radul Kadakia.
He added that a Fancy Vivid blue diamond sold for $3.67 million, or more than $1 million per carat which exceeded it high estimate.Five jewels topped the $1 million mark. Christie's said the sale saw heavy competition among both trade buyers and private collectors for colorless diamonds, large gemstones and signed jewels.
But the 10.09 carat Fancy Vivid cushion-cut was expected to be the sale's highlight, with prices for large pink diamonds, the most expensive colored diamonds on the market, having skyrocketed in recent years. Fewer than 10 percent of all pink diamonds mined weigh more than .20 carats.

And why have big pinks been so desired by collectors?
From the Christie's website
In recent years, prices for top-quality colored diamonds have increased rapidly, driven by both collector demand and increasingly limited supply. Pink diamonds of this type gain their highly desirable color as a result of a rare, naturally-occurring slippage of the crystallographic lattice in the stone while it is forming deep within the earth’s crust. Only a few mines in the world produce pink diamond rough, and of the stones that are cut and polished, only one in about 10 million diamonds will possess a color pure enough to be graded as “Fancy Vivid”.

For more on historic Fancy Pinks and their per carat price click here

Is the market saturated with big fancy stones?
Is this a signal of a turning point in demand?
Are the Chinese taking a break from taking over the world?

I don't know the answer to any of these things but with inflation apparent in all things from the price of gold and basic commodities to gemstones and jewelry, maybe it's a good thing to have a brief correction in the market.

And on the topic of inflation....did you know that if we calculated the inflation rate using the pre 1980 methodology the real rate would be 10%.
“Given ongoing inflation problems with food and the spreading impact of higher oil-related costs in the broad economy, reporting risk is to the upside of consensus expectation,” said Williams, citing a 10 percent jump in gasoline prices in March, in the note.

“While the federal government would have us believe the numbers are rather tame, our own personal gauge leads us to believe inflation is running between 5 percent to 6 percent annually,” wrote Alan Newman in his latest Crosscurrents newsletter that refers to Williams’ statistics.

Has your personal gauge been telling you that prices have been going up regularly now for years?
Mine has.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Around (another) Town - Lunch With Lisa at the Left Bank

It was a special privilege indeed to have spent the weekend in beautiful Palo Alto and to have had the opportunity to meet the lovely Lisa for lunch at a charming brasserie, the Left Bank in Menlo Park.

Lisa, bloggeress extraordinaire, was just as stylish, intelligent, thoughtful and downright pretty as I expected her to be, especially after getting to know her online by reading all of her posts on Amid Privilege.

Oh...and as for her archetype...she didn't strike me at all as a Sturdy Gal...I found her to be what I would call dressed down Grande Dame....which to me means educated, understated and elegant.

If you aren't reading her blog, you need to be. She can really write.

And...while not a tweeter myself....I'm tempted to sign up just to read her tweets!

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Friday, April 8, 2011

How To Wear Estate Jewelry or One LBD and A Multitude of Style

Recipe for BHB style
take one simple, straightforward and inexpensive little black dress
add estate jewelry from Beladora.com
and what do you get
a multitude of different looks
It couldn't be easier

Do you need a demonstration?
More Than Minimal in Modernist


 Delightful in Diamonds


Magnificent in Mahi
 Jean Mahi Emerald and Diamond Pendant and Earrings and Jean Mahi Cuff
 Pretty In Pearls




 Gorgeous in Gucci



Magnificent (again) in Mahi
 Jean Mahi Kunzite Pendant and Earrings with Mahi Cuff

Radiant in Rubies


 Beautiful in Belle Epoque


Sensational in Citrine





So....with all these choices...what am I going to wear to the dinner and lecture tonight on the history of the de Buren family?

none of the above
I'm going for the multi-gemstone look


Just proving that the LBD and Beladora estate jewelry will take you just about anywhere you need to go.
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